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Sun, Apr. 24th, 2011, 02:40 pm
Robopilot Heritage

Description: Whether they pilot giant robots or suits of power armor, they represent the height of technology on Rifts Earth. Pilots are trained in one suit, and spend their careers mastering them.
Connected Abilities: Super-strength, super-senses, flight, invulnerability,

Sun, Apr. 24th, 2011, 02:37 pm
Juicer Heritage

Description: In the pursuit of perfection some have turned to drugs, making use of sensors, nanites, and micro computers to keep optimal levels of hormones. But for the prowess and cash they gain with the surgery, they pay with pitifully short lives of just 5 - 8 years.
D12: Earn a PP when you Choose to suffer physical breakdown
Connected Abilities: Super-strength, Super-speed, regeneration

Sun, Apr. 24th, 2011, 02:32 pm
Cyber Knight Heritage

Description: Living legends who act as judge, jury, and executioner enforcing their own standards on the world around them, the cyber knights are never-the-less a force for good in these dark times bringing order to chaos, and justice to the downtrodden.
D4: Earn a PP to Choose to impose your standards in an inappropriate way.
D12: Spend a PP to Gain a squire
Connected Abilities: Psi-sword/shield, regeneration, invulnerability

Sun, Apr. 24th, 2011, 02:26 pm
Crazy Herritage

Description: Originally designed to cure mental disorders, it was soon found that the M.O.M (Mind over Matter) procedure could grant subjects superhuman strength, speed, and even psychic abilities, at the cost of their sanity.
D4: Recover stress when you choose to exhibit a nervous tic
Connected Abilities: Super-strength, Super-Speed, Regeneration,

Wed, Apr. 20th, 2011, 11:46 am
Just a heads up...

While I will be finishing my posts on the RIFTS conversion, that will be the last I'll be posting here for a while. I've a new blog where I'll be posting about all my projects, and don't much feel like double posting. Don't have a great deal of followers here, so I don't see much use to a large transition period.

Posted via Journaler.

Sat, Apr. 16th, 2011, 09:41 pm
Borg Heritage Distinction

I've hit a point in the process here where I've realized I'm not going to get very far with this working on my own. I only had a tangential exposure to RIFTS. Enough to see the cool the setting contains, but not enough to be able to really describe character types with any confidence. This of course is only the first part of the conversion. In addition to creating the Heritage distinctions, I also would need to create several powers from scratch, and a few others need a fair bit of modification. But by far the most important change to my mind is the Values. The ones in the Smallville RPG work just fine for a Superhero Teen Drama, but they don't really capture the feel of the Rifts setting very well. If in the future I find someone who's had greater exposure to RIFTS, I'm open to working on this project again, but I've too many projects right now.

So for now I'm going to post what I have, and will leave it at that for the time being.
I started off by making each OCC I ran into a separate Heritage Distinction, but in the end realized that, as with many things in RIFTS, it was fairly easy to condense things without watering them down too much. The difference between the different robot pilot OCCs is what large humanoid robot they've been trained to use, the difference between the 'borg types is the amount of their body they've replaced, and these are the kinds of things easily handled through power and gear selection, so I'm going with a more generalized model here.

'Borg Heritage
Description: Whether replacing a bum leg to be better able to walk, or doing a full conversion to brain-in-a-jar-in-a-robot, man has been stretching the limits of the power a prosthesis could grant them. Soldiers, law enforcers, warriors, and those who want to become one of those, frequently choose some level of the 'borg conversion to give them an edge over the killers, enemy soldiers, and otherworldly creatures they face in their line of work. This has granted them abilities beyond the scope of normal men, but at the price of their very humanity.
D12: Earn a Plot Point when you Choose to act without compassion or remorse.
Connected Abilities: Super Senses, Super Strength, Super Speed, Invulnerability, Regeneration, Technopathy, Blast, Claws
Limits: Electricity

Notes: The OCC this is based on generally has weaponry (blades, guns, etc) built into the cyborg pieces. This would most likely be represented by modifying the descriptor assigned to the Blast power. Sonic attacks, beam weapons, and even projectile based weapons could all be accounted for in this fashion.

I'll be posting these every day or so for a couple weeks. I only got through the Men of Combat section of the book before stopping. Adventurers and Scholars are best just written straight (as they by definition have no special abilities), though were I to have continued I'd have created heritage distinctions for the magic users and other critters.

Wed, Apr. 13th, 2011, 10:44 pm
Cory Doctorow isn't special...

Normally I reserve this journal for gaming stuff, but needed to post this up somewhere I could link back to.

There's been an argument going around on Twitter that SciFi authors in general, and Cory Doctorow in particular, are "special" in terms of ability to make money at the chosen profession, due to the subcultures tendency towards cults of personality. The counter examples given are romance writers and crime fiction writers. To me this feels like a false argument. Just because someone hasn't done it yet, and I don't stipulate that they haven't, doesn't mean that they couldn't.

Let's start by looking at What Cory Doctorow actually does, shall we? First and most obvious, he's a writer. Specifically, a writer of speculative science fiction. He writes about the way we interact with technology, and about the way's we might interact with it in the future, as well as about the way that shapes and might shape our culture and ourselves. Second, he's an editor for Boing Boing where he, say it with me class, "writes about the way we interact with technology". To his credits you could add blogger (craphound.com) and podcaster. And as a podcaster he gives away free electronic copies of all his works. That includes both readings of them, as well as text versions in just about every format there is. And let's go ahead and round it out with speaker. According to his responses he makes less than 10% of his income through lectures and such, but it's worth mentioning. Now let's see how these roles could be approached by the two listed categories.

I'll start with the romance novelist, quite simply because it's easier. So this Romance Novelist is writing his or her novels, and wants to expand sources of income. Well, we can start by adding a podcast to the mix. If sex is a major interest of theirs, then doing a review show of various products, or going the route of a sex educator (fighting misconceptions and arming people with the knowledge they need to stay safe) seems to me to be a natural outgrowth of that. Matter of fact there are quite a few podcasts out there following that precise topic, though none of those podcasters are romance novelists to my knowledge. This could well count as an added line of income for them in a way it doesn't for Mr. Doctorow, because he doesn't have any sponsors, but there is a precedent of sex education podcasts having sponsors (I'm sure there are other examples, but Sex is Fun is the one that springs most readily to mind). If our budding novelist were to add speaking at sex themed conventions to the list (SXSW, ShibariCon, GRUE) and were to speak at colleges that have degree programs for sex educators (yes, there are such things), then we can add that to the list as well. Can't speak much to editing, though I'm sure there are webzines out there that they could manage. Worst case they could create a literary magazine for themselves to edit. Include short stories, reviews, local and national events, maybe a news feature, and you've got a lifestyle mag that could actually have some use. This is one situation though where I wouldn't recommend giving away all content in free forms. While a few short stories would certainly be plausible, and while ebook versions make a level of sense, I'd imagine full length audio books of the authors works would somewhat undermine the actual book sales.

For me the hardest one is the crime novelist. Mostly because I've never read anything that was categorized as "crime fiction". Just never had any interest in it, no curiosity either. But as I see it there's two major paths the author could be following: writing about historical events from  a narrative perspective, or creating wholly fictional situations and writing about them. Again, the literary magazine could work, though I've honestly no idea what kinds of conventions would be applicable there, though reviews of products (investigative and defense) and services (background searches, and the like) would certainly make sense depending on the target audience (are we aiming at the armchair detective, the PI, or trying to catch everyone?). Next up is public speaking. Here I think they actually have something of an advantage. Who would want to bring them in? Again I imagine that the schools PI's go to to get licensed would like to have them come in on occasion. I'd also imagine corporations would be interested in hiring them (depending on experience) to talk with their security guards. Honestly I picture that all happening as more of a consultant than anything else, and I don't really picture the other two categories of writers mentioned here really getting a position as a consultant.

I guess what I'm saying is that it would depend on how invested in the subject matter the writer is, and just how creative they can be that would determine how likely they are to be able to make their hobby (whether sex, crime solving, or thinking about technology) a viable source of income. But then we knew that already didn't we ;-)

... And now I'm imagining a consultant for authors who want to quit their day job walking them through these kinds of things to get their name out there. .lol.

Fri, Apr. 1st, 2011, 10:24 pm

Saw a description of an interesting form of resolution online today, tied into the DnD5E gag. Those of you who I'm friends with on Facebook have seen the link, and I'll be posting here later this weekend (likely) about my own take on it, but right now I need to mull it over a bit.

Thu, Mar. 31st, 2011, 12:25 am

I've thought about how to run a game based on vampires as PCs. There's plenty of systems that already have them built in, and plenty more that can cover one aspect or another. Right now I'm contemplating it again. It's just a passing thought at the moment (too busy with another mod I'm working on), but it's a fun thought experiment anyway.

I kind of have two competing ideas for how I'd want it to go. On the one hand, I want Hunger to be a theme running through the game. On the other, I don't want to have it be all about blood. I think it's more interesting if the driving motivation is the Hunt. The predator Instinct. That's what I want it to focus on.

Beyond that, not entirely sure how I want it to go, but that's where I'd start. Meh, maybe I'll write something up once I finish the current mod. In the meantime, I'll be posting up some Heritage Distinctions for a Rifts mod to the Smallville RPG as I finish them. And probably some new Values for it as well (to get the feel better).

Mon, Jan. 31st, 2011, 02:00 pm
Episode 17: Shortie's in Love

I'm watching through the TV shows that I feel most inspired by to try to figure out specific techniques I'll need to focus on in order to emulate the kinds of stories I want to tell in my gaming. This month I'm watching Dark Angel


I've burned the better part of the way through the first season without seeing anything new, but this episode seemed worthwhile to mention. Namely that not everything that happens in the campaign needs to resolve around the PCs.

In this instance it was a group of toughs that Max and Co run into. Naturally they assume that the toughs are there to pick up Max, but through the course of the episode we learn they are there looking for Diamond (a character introduced for this one episode).

I guess what I'm taking away from it is that the conflict presented only involved the PCs because they chose to be involved in it. While I know that this isn't anything new, it is fairly different from the way many campaigns I've been involved with have gone.

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